Friday, 3 December 2010
Nigeria: Jonathan accused of seeking to buy support
The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) has accused President Goodluck Jonathan of offering it US$50,000 as a bribe during its visit to the president over the weekend, where it presented its position paper opposing his 2011 presidential ambition. The allegation was made by Lagos pastor Tunde Bakare – one of the promoters of the pro-democracy group that led the protests during the protracted leave of absence of late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
The allegation by Bakare has been supported by another member of the SNG delegation, Yinka Odumakin. According to Odumakin, as the delegation made for their cars after the meeting, Godsday Orubebe, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, who also attended, asked them to wait for him and – when he returned – he offered a “brown envelope” containing US$50,000 in five bundles of US$100 bills.
The SNG says it initially refused the money. However, when Orubebe persisted, SNG members took the money to avoid a public scene at the presidential villa, subsequently returning the money through Tony Uranta, an aide to the presidency. The SNG claims also to have called Oronto Douglas, a senior aide to the president, informing him that they had returned the money.
Orubebe denies the allegations, saying he is distressed by them and that it is unreasonable for him to have offered a bribe to the SNG because there was nothing at stake to warrant such an action.
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